Spirit of Sun – click any image for full size
Now open to the public through until approximately Sunday, March 18th, is Spirit of Sun, a normally private group-owned region. The region has been opened to public access as a part of a photo competition, in which entrants are asked to submit images to the Flickr group associated with the Spirit of Sun. Caitlyn and I were alerted to the opening by Shakespeare and Max, so given the brief period of opening we hopped over to take a look – and found a visually stunning region, well worth taking the time to visit.
The region has been split into three large islands of roughly equal size. The landing point is on the southernmost of the three, a slender finger that runs east-west across the sim’s entire length. A rugged plateau, it is topped by a bumper car ride (available to visitors) at its eastern end, linked to a central plaza of shops by a broad cobbled walk and wooden steps. Beyond the shops sits a garden area featuring a small stage, open-air seating and a track leading back to the shops.
A small headland extends from this island, pushing out into the waters of the region’s channels. A great stone bridge once spanned the channel between this southern island and the one to the north-west, where a knuckle of rock rises from the surrounding land. However, some disaster long ago broke the back of the bridge, leaving it a ruin on either side of the channel. Instead, the western island can be reached via a switchback path winding down to the foot of the blunt headland to where a pier sits, two sailing boats moored against it, the wreck of a fishing boat close by.
The boathouse behind the pier offers a cosy place to sit – one of several across the region – while on the side of it opposite to the wreck of the fishing boat lies a small wooden bridge. A little awkward to reach, it nevertheless provides access to the western island by way of a low table of rock and grass sitting mid-channel.
The knuckle of rock against which the ruined bridge is anchored is one of two plateaus on this island, the second being home to an old lighthouse. A dirt track runs south-to-north along the island, passing under a rocky arch between these two plateaus, pointing the way to a third at the northern end of the island. This home to a broad wooden deck, reached by stairs. A greenhouse converted for use as a summer-house sits close to the foot of the steps, while the deck at the top sits around an old English-style folly. Tables and chairs are placed out across the deck, while the folly itself offers a further comfortable lounge.
Between these highland areas is more to be found – a café sitting in the middle of a small lake, another greenhouse – this one of more traditional design – presenting another cosy snug. Pass under the rocky arch to the southern headland, and you’ll find a camp site complete with a pair of British Land Rovers which look like they are on an outing from Encounter Overland.
Across the water to east is the remaining island. Dominated by another massive plateau – one equalling the height of the southern island, leaving a deep gorge between the two – curls around the eastern coastline of the island to form a broad ridge descending down to the lowlands. Six houses sit atop this plateau and ridge, spaced along the track that winds its way along both. As these appear to be private residencies, discretion when walking by them is recommended.
The lower part of the island offers a broad greensward of grass running out to a narrow ribbon of a beach. This is the home of another camp site, this one apparently of a Romany origin, watched over by a stone windmill oddly built against the rocky face of the plateau. Further around this southern headland lies another summer-house and further secluded spot couples can enjoy.
Spirit of Sun is a richly engaging place to explore – albeit one with a limited time with which people can appreciate it. With this latter point in mind, I’d suggest anyone wanting to visit do so sooner rather than later, least public access is restricted once more. And don’t forget to submit photos to the region’s Flickr group. Congrats to Justine Lemton, Doutz (Rianna Joubert), and the rest of the group for their creation.
- Spirit of Sun, Spring 2018 (Spirit of Sun, rated: Moderate)